There have been spontaneous celebrations throughout Iraq following Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s formal declaration of victory over Islamic State militants in Mosul.
It comes three years after the group seized the city and made it the stronghold of a “caliphate” they said would take over the world. Iraqi authorities, however, say a few pockets of resistance remain and it’s believed ISIL forces are using their wives and children as human shields.
“What I feel is like all other honourable and honest Iraqi people and God willing we will get rid of all the corrupt politicians who helped them (Islamic State) take Mosul,” said Basra resident Sana Ibrahim.
There were similar scenes in the capital Baghdad as cars paraded and people set off fireworks.
“As you can see victory has brought happiness and joy to all the Iraqi people . We pray to the Almighty God that peace and security prevails in Iraq. Iraqi people have suffered a lot and we hope that Mosul people will return to their homes,” said Mahmoud Ahmed.
Thousands of people were killed and nearly a million others displaced in the nine-month battle which has left much of the city in ruins.